How data gathering can improve pitch quality

Collecting data and making the right analyses with this data has become increasingly important in the field of groundskeeping in recent years. But how does it work? What data do you collect? And how can you use it to deliver better results? In ESSMA's Pitch Management Report we interviewed Paul Baas, Head Grounds Manager at Johan Cruijff ArenA, who shared his insights.

What data can you gather?

At Johan Cruijff ArenA, several types of data are gathered, including climate information. Knowing when it is going to rain, how much it has rained and what the temperature will be can be very useful in adjusting the fertilisation programme, according to Paul Baas. In addition, they also use performance management data and they even scan the field using infrared technology built into their mowing machines.

In our Pitch Management Report we also learn that 80% of clubs in our survey currently gather data about their pitch, with all of them saying it has improved the pitch quality. Furthermore, results from our survey show that the most important data to gather are:

  • Hardness of the pitch

  • Soil temperature

  • Soil moisture

Read the full report

A dashboard to analyse and understand the data

All the data that is gathered at Johan Cruijff ArenA can be viewed on a self-designed dashboard. This dashboard is accessible via a smartphone, tablet or computer, making it easy to analyse and compare all data. It allows the team to identify certain issues in the early stages because certain factors may be similar to, for example, an issue that they might have had a year ago.

“Overall, the first thing that I do every day when I get here is look at the data dashboard and adjust my approach for that day if I need to. It gives me an excellent guideline and tells me if I’m on the right track.”

Data gathering in the future

As Paul Baas and his team are continuously looking to improve their work, plans to develop the data-based approach are already there. Using some kind of “smart shoe” and looking more at the player’s heatmaps to see which area to focus on are just some ideas they have. 

“When we collect more data, we will also uncover new relationships and gain new insights, so we are excited to continue this approach in the future!”

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Posted on 18/05/2021 in: